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Fixed vs.Flexible Library Scheduling

Accessing the library for all students!

Tracey Rundle

on 6 February 2013

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Transcript of Fixed vs.Flexible Library Scheduling

Fixed or Flexible
Scheduling in the library? Deciding Which way to go.... Outcome Do I want to have a fixed library schedule where all students in my school have a regular, set library time where they meet with the Teacher-Librarian? Many of those who advocate for a more fixed schedule have some strong opinions for their view. As Lynnea McBurney, an elementary TL put it "I want the kids in the library once a week to see me, hear what I have to say, ask question, make comments, and appreciate literature. I could not possibly reach all the kids if I "taught" with only those teachers who wished to develop units" (Hurley, 2004). This theory of "you can't teach kids you don't see" (Hurley, 2004) is the main argument of those in favour of fixed schedules. This argument is related to the whole question of collaboration. If teachers are not engaged with collaborative planning with their TL, would their students benefit from a flexible schedule? Other concerns of those wanting a more fixed schedule include some practical concerns around timetabling and supervision concerns. Currently, this model of scheduling is more common in the majority of elementary schools in the United States. Fixed Schedules Flexible scheduling, where classes meet in the library based on need is more likely to be integrated with what is happening in the classroom, and be more relevant to what children are learning. The classroom teacher and the TL must work collaboratively together to develop their lessons and their ideas. Advocates of flexible planning felt the learning is more meaningful and timely, and learners are more likely to be engaged. According to cognitive theory, to make learning meaningful, there is a "need to associate learning in one setting with another, contextualize our learning, related new learning to existing schemata and construct meaning for ourselves." (van Deusen, 1995) The very nature of flexible scheduling also offers more time to be available for teachers and TL's to meet and plan. Flexible Schedules According to Peggy Creighton, in her article entitled "Flexible Scheduling, Making the Transition", there are a few tips to make a smooth transition.
1. Engage the administration of your building! You need to ensure you have the support of your principal and to do this, you need to make sure they can see the potential and the benefits of flexible scheduling.
2. Create a vision! Find some colleagues who are more likely to be engaged in collaborative teaching and planning to help you and create a shared vision of what the library program can look like and can do for your school.
3. Use a specific goal to engage staff. This can be a school-wide growth goal and help your staff see how flexible scheduling can help in achieving this goal.
4. Make a plan! Enlist the help of a team of collaborative colleagues, probably some of those who are more willing to take risks, and work on a plan for implementing a new structure to library access.
5. Demonstrate success! More hesitant staff members may be more willing to come on board after seeing the possibilities.
6. Sell it! Creighton notes that certain personality traits are needed in order to gain support! Demonstrating "flexibility, energy, a sharing and facilitating mindset" are all desirable characteristics for success (Creighton, 2008). How do I get to a more flexible schedule? Ultimately, our goal as TL's and educators in general is to create the best possible learning environments and access to our learners. Engaging our students is the best success! Successful, flexible scheduling requires a lot of collaboration, organization and flexibility. It is important that all students have access to the the library, and are able to develop the knowledge and skills they need. Perhaps a combination of fixed and flexible scheduling is the best way for a school to meet changing needs and move forward. OR Do I want to have flexible library schedule where students meet in the library based on instructional and curricular need? OR Perhaps a combination of these two different kinds of schedule is what is right for me! Let's take a
look at the research.... Which path is right for my students and myself? Resources Hurley, C. (2004). Fixed vs. flexible scheduling in school library media centers. A Continuing Debate (Vol. Vol. 23 Issue 3,, pp. p36-41). Library Media Connection.
Creighton, P. (2008). Flexible scheduling: Making the transition. (Vol. Vol. 24 Issue 5, pp. p24-27). School Library Media Activities Monthly.
van Deusen, J. D. (1995). Prerequisites to flexible planning. (Vol. Vol. 23, Issue 1). Emergency Librarian.
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